The Giants’ rotation took the early spotlight this winter as Kevin Gausman weighed multi-year deals against a short-term return to the Bay. Ultimately, Gausman brought his 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP and 32.2 percent strikeout rate from 2020 back to San Francisco by accepting the club’s qualifying offer.
Slot Gausman at the top of the Giants’ rotation, then, and veteran Johnny Cueto right behind him. With Gausman on a one-year pact and the soon-to-be 35-year-old Cueto also facing free agency (assuming the Giants buy out their 2022 team option), the Giants have long-term flexibility at the top of their rotation. As much as malleability has become a chief asset throughout the game, the top of the rotation is the one place where teams probably prefer some stability. The Giants have some work to do in this regard, but that’s probably not a box they can check this winter.
Elsewhere, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood are “locked into the rotation,” per Maria Guardado of MLB.com. The way in which those starts manifest themselves comes baked-in with more than a dash of uncertainty, especially given the unique incentives in Wood’s contract. His deal leaves open the possibility of taking his turns traditionally – or as an opener or follower. DeSclafani, meanwhile, has only twice made 30+ starts in a season, and he’s coming off a 7.22 ERA/5.52 SIERA in 33 2/3 innings – which included seven starts and two relief appearances. Regarding the stability/flexibility dichotomy, Wood and DeSclafani, like the top half of the rotation, are heading back to free agency after 2021.
Funny enough, Logan Webb, the frontrunner to land the Giants’ fifth starter spot, also probably has the most secure long-term future with the club. The 24-year-old owns a 5.36 ERA/4.64 SIERA over 94 career innings. In the short term, however, he’s most likely to find himself displaced from a regular role should President of Baseball Ops Farhan Zaidi continue to add from the outside. At least for now, that’s a real possibility, writes Guardado.
Interestingly, Zaidi sounded pretty certain that the rest of their roster was set. The Giants added Tommy La Stella to the top of their lineup this winter and Curt Casali to the bench. In the bullpen, Matt Wisler, John Brebbia, and Jake McGee joined the bullpen potentials along with Rule 5 selection Dedniel Nunez.